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action list - too long, link to project

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  • action list - too long, link to project


    I'm a newbie. I've been searching the forum but couldn't find clear answers for my 2 questions:

    1. What do I do to prevent my action list grow too long (=longer than 50)?

    most of my next actions are job related and therfore go to "at office" (so any other list like "at computer" is irrelevant). My assistant keeps the calls list. As most of my next actions (accept errands) are to be done at office, this list is growing too long. any solution?

    2. link action list to project.

    I've been reading lots of post here about this issue about the subject but wanted to hear what you think of my own system - I keep a project list in an outliner, in which I have sub lists to plan my projects.

    I list my next actions there as well, in a special catgeroy name "NA".

    I am then able to view the list by category and see only the NA.

    The downside is that I'm unable to sort the items in the NA category, in which I have too many, as I mentioned.

    Also - had I been able to sort it - which kind of sort would you suggest (I understand that priorities and dates are no much appreciated in GTD).

  • #2
    One way to approach things is to put any next actions that you do not anticipate working on this week into a seperate someday maybe list. This list is also useful for things e.g. take up the piano) that you might want to do at some point in your life.

    I've solved the issue of priorities by doing what you do: putting the projects in an outliner. I use a particular outliner called lifebalance which can prioritize things for you (given your imput). I only use a portion of the program and ignore the rest, but you can look at your work by project in outline form and by clicking on a tab you can look at your work by context, and for each context the next actions are listed by rough priority. I still scan the whole list for each context once a day, and the order is only approximate, but things on the first screen are the higher priority ones (all else being equal). For me this is a huge help (even if I do some of the ones down the list e.g. if they fit my time or energy).

    Lifebalance has a significant learning curve--feel free to private message me for suggestions should you contemplate using it.


    • #3
      > 50 NA's

      My first piece of advice would be to not try to keep your list below 50. I'd think that anybody with a reasonable amount of responsibility is going to have closer to 150 or so. Remember, the reason you do GTD is because you have so many things to do!

      Get the stuff out of your head. If you've got 150 NA's in your head and only 50 on paper your still walking around with too many open loops.

      This is an ongoing struggle. I dont write everything down, but I do capture the things that bug me - preferably before they start to bug me.


      • #4
        Re: action list - too long, link to project


        1. What do I do to prevent my action list grow too long (=longer than 50)?

        A simple answer (perhaps overly simple) is contained in 4 ideas:
        1. Write everything down (long list)
        2. Process thoroughly to assess whether there is truly a commitment and how then to proceed
        3. Weekly Review - if you didn't proceed, are you still committed?
        4. Pareto Principle - 20% of your "work" yields 80% of the value. How much of the "bottom" 80% needs to be taking up space on the list?

        Some people assign a notation for every time an item is deferred - 3 deferrals and it gets trashed. I don't worry too much about deleting old or procrastinated items - if they really are important they will resurface in a future mind-dump.